RGD pays tribute to Dale Atkinson RGD Emeritus
RGD was very sad to learn that Dale Atkinson RGD Emeritus, Professor of Graphic Design at George Brown College and past RGD Exam Board Director passed away on August 31, 2015.

RGD asked one of our founders, Rod Nash RGD to offer his memories of Dale and then also invited a few of Dale's students to do the same.


I first met Dale when he was a student at OCA (now OCADU) in 1966. My wife was in his class. We always enjoyed Dale's quiet, thoughtful approach to design and image making. It’s why we have his work hanging on our walls. A gift from Dale helped start our daughter Cher toward a hands-on approach and the passion for design she has had her whole life. After he graduated, Dale worked at Doyle Dane Bernbach in Toronto. I remember a senior creative who worked with Dale there telling us how much he respected Dale.


In May this year OCADU held an event called the Alumni of Influence Awards. Dr Allan J. Ryan was a recipient. Half a dozen or so of Allan’s classmates, along with their partners, attended including Dale and his wife Monica. After the event, we got together to celebrate Allan’s award. Later we exchanged photos.


As always the photos Dale sent me were different. Not a lot of shots, but a photo essay. A story. Compelling, photo to photo. The emotions kindled by seeing old friends. The beauty of the world we live in … the reality of the very real and personal now. And then the hope that flows from all of this. The last two photos are of his children Erin and Jessica, photos Dale had taken around 1986 and 1988. 


- Rod Nash RGD


See below for some memories and thoughts shared by a few of Dale's past students.




Dale inspired a lifelong love affair with typography for me. I will never forget his patience, wisdom and accuracy when teaching us how to identify, create and use letters. I would have been happy to listen to him all day. Although I don’t really get to practice writing in blackletter as he taught us, I think of him often as he reminded us not to hold our breath when drawing a line! - Jennifer Shadbolt RGD

Dale was a soft-spoken, kind soul. He had a subtle sense of humour and the more you chatted with him the more you got to know the great person that he was.He was a classic "old-school" professor – always putting his students first. He wasn't about tooting his own horn about awards and acclamations and all the big-league agencies he'd worked at. As my first typography professor, Dale was not only instrumental in teaching me the fundaments of type, but opening my eyes to a greater appreciation and understanding of type and its importance in the bigger design picture. 

RIP Dale. - Ramona Moore


If you would like to contribute to this tribute, please email